The Star Entertainment Group is undergoing a review of its Sydney casino operations, which will be led by the lead senior counsel who worked on the Crown Resorts Bergin Inquiry.
The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority of New South Wales has announced the start of the investigation and has recruited Adam Bell SC to conduct an assessment of The Star’s activities.
The group is required to undergo a licence review every five years under the state’s Casino Control Act 1992, with the previous one conducted by Dr Horton QC in 2016.
After an inquiry conducted by retired Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin, Crown Resorts was found unsuitable to operate the $2.2 billion Crown Sydney Hotel Resort, citing poor corporate governance, deficient risk-management structures and processes, and a bad corporate culture.
Casino Control Act
Bell will conduct an assessment of The Star Sydney in compliance with the Casino Control Act, which will evaluate whether or not the company is qualified to keep its casino licence in the state.
Philip Crawford, ILGA chair said: “Regular reviews of casinos in NSW are required under the Casino Control Act and the last review of The Star was conducted in 2016 by Jonathan Horton QC.
“These reviews are carried out with the cooperation of the casino operator to ensure the casino remains free from criminal influence or exploitation and doesn’t cause harm to the public interest.
“Mr Bell was the lead senior counsel assisting the Bergin Inquiry into Crown Resorts’ Barangaroo casino and, as such, has extensive knowledge of casino regulatory matters in NSW including the issues of concern identified in the Bergin Report.
“This experience provides Mr Bell with a deep understanding of the current casino landscape which will be invaluable for this role. He is expected to hand down his findings to ILGA in late January 2022.”
Melbourne and Perth
Crown might face a similar fate in Melbourne and Perth, with Royal Commissions proceeding in both Victoria and Western Australia, in addition to being ruled ineligible to preserve its Sydney casino licence.
The New South Wales government said last month that it will back all 19 recommendations from the Bergin probe report on casino regulation in the state, as well as Crown Resorts’ fitness for a restricted gaming facility licence.
This includes the creation of an Independent Casino Commission, a dedicated, stand-alone, expert casino regulator with the appropriate framework to address current and emerging gaming and casino concerns, as well as a number of legal revisions.